A Concierge’s Guide to the Best of Beijing

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Dec 07, 2017

Take a fresh look at Beijing with these insider recommendations from Fiona Zhou, concierge at Aman Summer Palace.

When in Beijing, you have to eat…

Peking duck. The best place to go is Da Dong restaurant. Their specialty is roast duck served many ways – the menu is 160 pages long. The server will carve the duck at your table before it’s taken away and brought back in pancakes, the crisp skin dipped in sugar, congee and soup.

Locals in the know head to…

TRB Hutong restaurant, located in a centuries-old temple courtyard in a hutong, one of Beijing’s traditional laneway districts. The food is European/French and the wine list features big names from Champagne and Bordeaux as well as some lesser-known drops.

When my friends are in town, I take them for a drink at…

Atmosphere at Shangri-La’s China World Summit Wing in downtown Beijing. It’s the city’s highest bar – you can see the skyline and the rooftops of the Forbidden City. It’s popular, though, so book ahead.

If you want to party Beijing-style, go to…

Sanlitun Bar Street in Chaoyang District. It’s open until early morning.

You probably don’t know this but…

Locals love their beer and the city has lots of craft breweries, such as Great Leap Brewing, Jing-A Brewing Co. and Arrow Factory Brewing.

To breakfast like a local, you must…

Go to any café or kiosk near a subway station for dumplings, noodles or congee.

If you want a coffee, try…

C5 Café (Building F, 5 Xiwu Jie, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District). There aren’t many cafés in Beijing that specialise in artisan coffee but C5 has single-origin beans and offers espresso and pour-over brews.

To nab a Beijing bargain, go to…

Liulichang Culture Street (south of the Peace Gate, Xuanwu District), an authentic market street full of tiny stores selling old wares, books and traditional Chinese medicine. And at Panjiayuan Antique Market (East 3rd Ring Road South, Chaoyang District), you’ll find Buddha statues, calligraphy and Cultural Revolution memorabilia.

Visitors should always take home…

Silk. The Silk Market in the Chaoyang District has shops selling handmade silk robes and cheongsams as well as fashion by young Chinese designers.

For a romantic experience, I suggest...

A trip to the Summer Palace. It’s open until 6pm but guests of Aman Summer Palace have after-hours access. It’s very romantic to stroll around the grounds and the central Kunming Lake at sunset.

I send art-lovers to...

The 798 Art Zone in Dashanzi, in the Chaoyang District. You’ll find some of the best contemporary art in the city there.

If you want to venture beyond town, head to…

The Great Wall of China – an obvious one. For people who don’t want to hike, I recommend the Mutianyu section, where you can go up by cable car and come down on a toboggan ride. It’s only a 90-minute drive from the city.

SEE ALSO:  A First-timer’s Guide to Beijing